What to do if a Physician is Sued for Medical Malpractice?
A Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer's Survival Tips for Protecting Physicians Named in Malpractice
Under a set of unfortunate circumstances, on occasion physicians get personally named in medical malpractice lawsuits. When that happens it is such a serious event, that it keeps most physicians full of anguish, anxiety, conflict, and without a sense of who to turn to for clear guidance. The stress leads to sleepless nights, and that effects other areas of work and home life. They are often concerned about: What happens to the physician's reputation? What happens to their medical license? What happens with the national reporting databases? If they get past it, will their license be unblemished? Who pays for all the legal expenses in defending the lawsuit?
At Healthcare Law Partners, we work with our clients to help them protect their license, their reputation and regain their sense of sanity. My name is Ben Assad Mirza, coming from a long line of physicians in our family, our team gets it; and we will help you through it. We have personally litigated over 2,000 civil law cases involving contracts and torts, and we can help you get through your lawsuit as well. We serve as doctor's personal medical malpractice defense lawyers when defending against a lawsuit.
If a physician has been provided defense counsel by their professional liability insurance company that is great, for that is half the battle. What we do is NOT what the insurance defense attorneys do, it is very different. We are only here to protect the physician, their name, their license and their assets; because that is our highest priority. Insurance defense attorneys always cater to insurance companies. Insurance companies catering to the insurer or the policy holder, not necessarily the licensed healthcare provider who is personally involved in the suit.
What physicians need is their own attorney, who works with the insurance defense attorneys and helps run the case to an end. This is what we do for our physician clients:
DOCTOR'S PERSONAL DEFENSE LAWYER - THIS IS WHAT WE DO IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES
Initial Case Review
When the lawsuit is filed, we help make sense out of the complaint that is filed at the courthouse. We help the physician understand what is about to happen. To understand the parties, who did what and what the plaintiff(s) is asking for the court to do. At this stage we make sure that the insurance policy triggers the “duty to defend” clause and we help choose the right insurance defense counsel. We also look for ways to get the physician out of the lawsuit right from the beginning.
Prepare Answer and Affirmative Defenses
The insurance defense counsel have their set of standard defenses they will raise before the court. What we do is we help them think beyond the standard set of defenses. This part is key, for if a defense is not preserved here at this stage, it is potentially lost forever.
Discovery by Document Production
The medical malpractice lawsuit quickly enters into a phase of discovering all the underlying relevant documents. What is relevant? Why are they asking for such detail? What is a physician's obligation under the duty to disclose? What MUST a physician disclose? those are all great questions. We help our physicians through this phase and we prompt their insurance defense counsel to raise the objections in court. Historically, physicians let their office staff handle this, but who is watching what is getting turned over? We help navigate through the disclosure phase.
Discovery by Deposition
Firstly, we work with physicians when they get deposed in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The deposing attorneys are looking for "gotcha" moments. Physicians have great questions like: How to prepare? What to say or do? Understanding the difference between speaking the truth, giving up legitimate defenses unwittingly, and what are “non-truths”. One of our highest priorities is to help our clients prepare and navigate their own depositions.
Secondly, we guide the insurance defense counsel on what to ask the opposing side that is key to the physician's defenses. There is always a purpose to every deposition that is taken; we guide the insurance defense counsel to stay on track with what our physician needs to put on a fortified defense.
Thirdly, we work with insurance defense counsel to secure the right expert witnesses to fortify the physician's defense. This part is often key and over looked.
Requesting the Court to Take Action
During the middle of the case there are opportunities that are created, that give the physician the ability to ask the court for relief or to enforce some legal provision onto another defendant or onto the opposing side. Managing these opportunities is often key to early settlement or dismissal of the case. We help maximize those opportunities to help our physicians out of a case.
Concluding the Case - An Absolutely Critical Phase
Most medical malpractice lawsuits do not go to trial, rather they are mediated and settled out. Usually for nuisance value, the insurance companies are willing to give money to the plaintiff so they do not have to incur more legal fees. We help our physicians understand if and when they are ready to settle or go to trial. We aim to get our clients out of the case before it is over. There are many many things to be concerned about here: What will the final settlement agreement say? Will that be reported to the national medical databases along with the physician's name? What will the final court order say? Will others be able to use this case against the physician in the future? What will future employers of the physician think? These are all great questions. We help our clients bring the case to the cleanest possible ending that they can, and we do this by engaging the already paid insurance defense counsel, working with the physician and staff, and making sure that defenses and motions are raised before the court, and we keep our physicians out of the national and state reporting databases.
To find out more on how you can put Ben's team to work for you, click call/ text 954-445-5503.